With hundreds of hiking boot choices on the market, it becomes difficult to determine which one is just right for your hiking activities, foot size and terrain. Drop on top of that the Gore-Tex, eVent or unlined dilemma and your head starts spinning.
While most folks don’t need a heavy mountaineering-style or burly backpacking boot, the majority of us can make do with a lightweight and supportive hiking shoe or boot. There’s no need to slog around your local trails in a 2 lb. 8 oz. pair of Garmont Dakotas when a pair of Keen Voyageur Mid’s will do at a scant 1 lb. 1 oz. After beating around some local trails, I’m ready to share my thoughts on these new hikers from Keen.
About the Keen Voyageur Mid
Introduced this year as a lightweight and breathable hiker for warmer-weather hiking, the Voyageur Mid has all the right features to be the “go-to” boots for your summer adventures. Like all Keen footwear, the Voyageurs greet you with the Keen-patented rubber toe protection made famous on the Keen Newport H2 sandals. That extra protection is much appreciated and maintains the classic Keen look.
The Voyageur’s are the summertime cousin to the Keen Targhee Mid. While the Targhee sports full leather and a waterproof eVent liner, the Voyageur is like driving with the top-down because of the plentiful ventilation ribs on either side. An aggressive multi-directional lugged sole keeps your feet planted firmly to the trail and the mid-level height provides just the right amount of support for day hikes or overnight backpacking.
Highlights of the Keen Voyageur Mid Hiking Boots
- Dual Density Compression Molded EVA Midsole
- 4mm multi directional lugs
- Torsion stability ESS shank
- Patented toe protection
- Removable metatomical footbed
- S3 heel support structure
- Non marking carbon rubber outsole
- Weight: 17 oz. (pair)
- MSRP: $99.95 – REI.com
Keen Voyageur Mid Hiking Boots Review
Out of the box, the Voyageur’s fit great. From day one, they felt comfortable and already broken-in. This is likely due to the mesh ribs in place of full leather, which make these boots walk and flex from the get-go. Lacing them up for the first time, the entire boot did a great job at securing my foot in place.
A great feature of the lacing system is the locking uppermost lace hook. While most boots require you to hold everything tight using your cinched-down half knot, the Voyageur’s are better. The upper hook locks the ribbed laces in place, thus freeing you to tie them without fear of lace slippage. This is one of those “no-brainer” features that really makes a big difference. You’ll appreciate it every time you lace them up.
On the trail, the Voyageurs walked very well with a smooth and natural motion. Because they don’t have a full shank, just a torsion stability ESS Shank, they walk just like your favorite pair of sneakers. The lacing system provides solid support and cradles your foot perfectly. Look at the integrated webbing that wraps around the heel cup, down to the side and ends up being the uppermost lace loop. That webbing is a key part in the comfort of these boots. you can really feel it as you tighten down the laces and your foot is more and more supported. Nice!
I have yet to wear these in sweltering 95-degree heat, but on the several hikes I’ve taken thus far, my always-hot feet have felt comfortable and dry. That’s something I’ve never been able to say about any Gore-Tex lined hiking boots I’ve owned. That said, because my hiking is done here in Utah, where we don’t have to worry so much about all-day rain or large stream crossings, so these are likely the perfect 3-season hiking boot for these types of dry conditions. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll likely want to opt for the Targhee Mid with the eVent liner.
Keep in mind, these boots are not meant to be pounded for a week on the Pacific Crest Trail with a 50 lb. pack. That’s not to say that they would explode on you, they just aren’t made for that. The soft and cushy soles would break down and not provide you with the support needed for those types of outings.
- Comfortable out of the box
- Excellent ventilation keeps your tootsies comfortable
- Lacing system that properly cinches things down
- Innovative lace-locking hook
- A great value at $99
- Not for stream-crossings or all-day rain
The Bottom Line: Keen Voyageur Mid Hiking Boots
The Voyageurs are a great option for a 3-season hiker for use in a relatively dry climate. Anyone in the Rocky Mountains or desert Southwest would be well-served by these boots. They offer all-day comfort and are stable enough to wear on 2-3 day backpacking trips with a 25-35 lb. pack. The lacing system is outstanding with extra support in the right places. At $99, these are an excellent value.